Rasen council gets £400 bill for show no-one saw

Festival Hall
Festival Hall

Market Rasen Town Council say there are ‘lessons to be learned’ after being forced to pay hundreds of pounds for cancelling a ‘Live & Local’ show at the Festival Hall.

According to town clerk Lucy Waller, the show - called Twice Upon A Time - was cancelled just days before it was due to be staged on December 15.

The council says it thought the show would be popular, but pulled the plug because of poor ticket sales.

The council has had to pay £425 (plus VAT), but stresses the figure came from a fund generated by income from other events.

In a statement, the council blamed ‘staff illness’ and a ‘revised staffing structure’ for not marketing December’s show properly.

However, Deputy Mayor Councillor Stephen Bunney has admitted councillors had not read the ‘paperwork’ properly.

Speaking at this month’s town council meeting, he 
also revealed councillors had thought the show might have been ‘inappropriate’.

Ms Waller said: “As with any event, a cancellation due to lack of sales cannot occur until sales can be assessed within a close proximity to the performance date.

“It was also unfortunate that an additional marketing push was not possible due to issues with staff illness, and our revised staffing structure not yet being in place.

“The council is offered 
various Live & Local shows.

“This was a show that the council was offered and councillors felt it may have appealed to locals and visitors.

“This was unfortunately not the case, and the council will build on this experience when considering show choices.”

Ms Waller confirmed the council had to pay a performance fee, less a discount granted by Live and Local.

 The total amount was £425 plus VAT, instead of around £600.

Ms Waller added: “Live & Local performances along with associated sales of 
refreshment and fundraising activities held on the day produce an independent 
income and any costs or  losses incurred (such as on this 
occasion) are taken from that.”

Speaking at the meeting earlier this month, Councillor Stephen Bunney said: “We obviously had to 
cancel the event which was unfortunate.

“We clearly went into that decision with the 
understanding that we would have to pay a fee which was actually around £600 as opposed to what we thought it would be at around £300 
because we hadn’t read the 
paperwork properly - but we have now done so.

“It is worth remembering that in fact when I looked at the paperwork, we could have cancelled the show earlier, but we had to give a certain amount of time.

“Also, if we feel the show is inappropriate - I think a lot of us felt that one was inappropriate -  we could have turned it down without actually 
having any penalty.

“So those are things that we didn’t know before, but we do know now for future events.”

“We have had an offer of a reduction of around £200 from Live and Local so it is not going to cost us as much.”

Mr Bunney did not expand on why councillors thought the show might be inappropriate.